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Two Visits to the Ohel

Two Visits to the Ohel

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It was exactly five years ago, June 2007, that my friends at Chabad of Riverdale were going to the Ohel, the resting place of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, of righteous memory. The group was to travel to the Queens cemetery in honor of Gimmel Tammuz, the anniversary of his passing. I had joined the group the year before, but when I recalled how hot and crowded it had been I refused to go again.

At the time I was unemployed and looking for a new teaching position. Prayers said at the gravesite of a righteous person are particularly potent, so a friend suggested I go along to pray for my job prospects.

Considering I had never been fortunate enough to meet the Rebbe during his lifetime, the idea of writing a letter requesting his blessing – and then praying to G‑d at his gravesite - seemed almost absurd. I felt I had a much bigger chance of success if I just worked on my resume and interviewing skills some more. But my friends pushed, and in the end we compromised: I would stay home, but they would go to the Ohel and ask the Rebbe for a blessing on my behalf.

Out of all the education-related jobs being offered, only one was for the resource room.

The next Shabbat my friend let me know that she had indeed prayed for me, and although I was still skeptical, I thanked her politely. Needless to say, I didn’t give it another thought.

I continued my job search, attending a career fair a couple of weeks later. I was specifically looking for a resource room position, which is often the hardest type to find because it is an out-of-classroom position. The fair was incredibly crowded and out of all the education-related jobs being offered, only one was for the resource room. The line was long, but I waited. I talked to the school representative and was – incredibly – among those invited for an interview.

The following day I put on my best outfit and headed to the school which was in a predominantly Latino neighborhood, in the Bronx. I parked, took one last glance in the mirror, locked the door and started towards the school. But as I crossed the street, something caught my eye. It was small and crumpled and looked like it had been run over by car after car for days. I picked it up and stared in disbelief. It was a picture of the Lubavitcher Rebbe! Whose was it and how did it get there? I had no idea. But I placed it in the pocket of my navy blue blazer and continued on to my interview.

Fortunately, I was offered the job and it turned into a wonderful teaching experience. I was happy, the school was happy, and I couldn’t help but think the Rebbe was happy too. In fact, when I told one of the counselors at the Chabad of Riverdale Gan Israel Day Camp about my experience, she smiled and said, “See, you refused to go to the Rebbe, so he came to you.”

It was small and crumpled and looked like it had been run over by car after car for days.

Within a few short years the school I loved was being phased out due to low test scores, and it eventually closed in June of 2011. I spent my summer sending out countless resumes and attending job fair after job fair, but nothing turned up. I was feeling very disheartened when my friend and Rebbetzin, Sorah Shemtov, suggested we go to the Ohel. This time I agreed.

So there we were, on a hot summer Friday, making the journey from the Bronx to Queens. I’d had an interview scheduled for that morning and suggested postponing the trip, but Sorah insisted we go after my interview. Despite my previous experience, I still had a niggling thought that I would probably be better off at home sending out yet more resumes. To add to the mix, it was a beautiful day and I couldn’t help but wish I was sitting poolside instead of driving through Queens. But Sorah obviously wasn’t fazed by the weather. In fact, going to the Ohel probably only added to the beauty of the day for her! So I took her cue and perked up.

When we arrived, I wrote my letter to the Rebbe, gave some coins to tzeddakah (charity), read the Maaneh Lashon prayer, tore up my letter and placed it at the Rebbe’s headstone.

By the time we were driving back to the Bronx,, I had received two phone calls from principals in two different schools. One I had interviewed with that morning; the other I had met with the week before. Both were positions I very much wanted, and both were positions in great demand.

And both were calling to offer me the job.

Suzanne Haray is a teacher with the NYC Department of Education in the Bronx with a master's degree in special education and reading. She attends Chabad of Riverdale.
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Anonymous Queens, NY January 18, 2017

The Mysterious Power of the Ohel I want to share my experience of a miraculous occurrence that happened immediately after I visited the Ohel: I had been dating a girl for some time. Soon, I began to see that she was not for me. I tried to gently hint this to her, but she felt otherwise and indicated that she wanted to continue the relationship. Hoping to find some inspiration for a proper course of action, knowing that the girl was an admirer of the Rebbe, I suggested that on our next date, we visit the Ohel, to which she happily agreed. We separately wrote our notes, putting them on the graves. On mine, I wrote both our names and added the words, "May we merit finding our true bashert." We returned to my car, she with a broad smile on her face. Suddenly, she turned to me with the most horrid expression on her face, saying, "I don't like you anymore...Please take me home!" Postscript: 6 mos. later I was married to another. 1 year later I attended the Sheva Brachas of a my wife's male friend. The bride was that girl! Reply

Anonymous Montreal June 26, 2016

Wonderful story how the Rebbe is still present giving his blessings and guiding us. There are many amazing stories of this sort, some were published recently in a magazine called "The Rebbe Will find a Way"
I would encourage Chabad.org to put many more such stories on, and have it accessible on the front page of the Rebbe website! Reply

Eleanor Haray New York, New York June 21, 2012

The Power of the Ohel Having heard this story from my daughter when it happened I was surprised at my strong reaction to her lovely retelling of it.
Good job Suzanne! Not to be greedy, maybe the Exalted Rebbe has one more favor up his sleeve for her.
Let's wait and see...... Reply

Anonymous June 21, 2012

Wow. This only shows the true power of the Ohel. Reply

Leah ny, ny June 21, 2012

How inspirational! Wow, thank you for sharing this story. I also have not gone to the Ohel on gimmel tammuz because of the crowds. Now I am re-thinking. Reply

Rabbi Yeruchem Eilfort Carlsbad, CA June 21, 2012

Great Article! Thanks, Suzanne for sharing. What a beautiful and inspiring story! Reply

sherry house BRONX, New York June 20, 2012

The power of prayer Kol Ha Kavod Suzanne!! What a great article. Reply

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